Female genital cosmetic surgery. Honestly, I feel uncomfortable typing those words. In the face of vaginoplasty, I would kind of like to bury my head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. I feel sad just thinking about women who are so insecure about their lady-parts that they choose surgery, and possibly damaging complications, just to gain confidence. But procedures like vaginal rejuvenation, shortening the labia, recreating the hymen, and “G-spot amplification” are becoming hard to ignore. They’re growing in popularity at a rate that’s troubling to many gynecologists.
If you’re looking for a good reason not to have any type of genital cosmetic surgery, how about this statement from respected gynecologist, Dr. Cheryl Iglesia, in the June edition of Obstetric and Gynecology? ”None of these procedures have proven effectiveness, and there is potential for harm. Women are being misled or are confused about what is normal.”
The expectations of men and women have been greatly influenced by the porn industry. The problem, of course, is that the “perfect vagina” is just a completely ridiculous notion. Just like any other part of the body, vaginas vary in appearance and rarely conform to the often-Photoshopped examples in the entertainment industry. And whether you choose to have vaginal rejuvenation or not, every part of your body will continue to age and transform throughout your life. Trying to recreate your teen years through your vagina is just not possible.
Personally, I just have to say that while I’m not a fan of plastic surgery in general, I’m even more strongly opposed to the idea of genital cosmetic surgery. And I’ll throw in breast implants, as well. These are the parts of our body that actually identify us as female. Our breasts and our reproductive system connect us with our gender. (Obviously, there are some who are born in a different body. Gender is more than parts. But for those who have lived their whole lives feeling connected to their gender, those physical representations are an important part of our femininity.) There is a reason that infertile women, like myself, feel like failures as women. Our reproductive systems’ ability to function feels like a huge component of our gender identity.
We can’t say that the very parts that women identify as female aren’t up to a certain societal standard. These parts are private. They’re a piece of our gender identity. They’re something that women should be proud of.
Obviously, that’s a personal belief and not everyone will hold it. However, it’s hard to argue with the facts that genital surgery poses a great number of risks with no guarantee rewards. Risks such as scarring, infection, pain and loss of sensation are all possible with the various forms of vaginal surgery. And while some women say that they feel better about the appearance of their genitals after a surgery, we still have to consider what’s influencing their opinion on the “right” appearance. Dr. Iglesia explains, ”The ethical question is: How much are you playing on women’s insecurities? Women are getting very much duped into thinking there is a standard look for the vulva.”
These types of surgeries are growing at an alarming rate. Over 2,000 women had vaginal rejuvenation in the last year, and that doesn’t include procedures done by gynecologists to aid with appearance or color. This trend is troubling, not just to the doctors who see women fooled by the idea of a “perfect” vagina, but to females in general who shouldn’t be made to feel insecure about the most private and personal part of their bodies.